By: Samantha J. Wood
Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. This guidance can be found here.
The CDC stated that it considers an individual to be “fully vaccinated” two weeks after they have either received the second dose of the two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after they have received the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
After an individual is fully vaccinated, the CDC states that the individual:
- Can visit with other fully vaccinated individuals indoors and in private settings without wearing masks or physical distancing;
- Can visit with unvaccinated individuals from a single household at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing; and
- Need not quarantine and test after a known exposure so long as the individual remains asymptomatic.
Despite this guidance, however, the CDC continues to recommend that employers maintain routine workplace screening programs and preventative measures, including masking, physical distancing, gathering restrictions, and sanitation and cleaning procedures. Additionally, for employees in high-density workplaces, such as meat processing and manufacturing plants, the CDC continues to recommend that vaccinated individuals are tested after an exposure to COVID-19.
This guidance is consistent with that issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in January 2021, wherein OSHA encouraged employers to continue to follow protective measures regardless of whether employees are vaccinated.
Employers should also be cautious in modifying or discontinuing preventative measures, as it could lead to safety complaints, could spark discussions about who is/is not vaccinated and the reasons behind that decision, and discrimination or disparate impact concerns for those who are not being vaccinated due to religious or disability reasons.
Lindner & Marsack, S.C. represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law. If you have any questions about this guidance or any other labor or employment issue involving your business, please contact us at any time.